Excerpt from Tome - Book Three of The Bone Grit Historeum
“Okay, so the Tome of Antiquilus,” Lian stood firmly between his friends and the washbasin, “Well, you all know who Antiquilus was, right?”
“Only one of the greatest Sagii of all time,” Root said.
“Yes, but here’s something I bet you didn’t know!” Lian said excitedly.
“Antiquilus was brother to the Master Forger, Eldisius?” Tamik called out.
Lian deflated with another scowl then attempted to continue. “Who--”
“Who made the Rival Rings for the Trials?” Root blurted.
“And the Rider Rings, don’t forget!” Dwyn said.
“Ya, but those’re different. I’m talking about the Rival Rings, the ones that were forged for the Trials, not the special ones made for the Riders.”
“Anyway!” Lian interrupted, anxious to tell the rest of his story. “Can I continue or are you gonna keep interrupting?”
“Sorry,” they all said in unision then laughed at their timing. Lian waited impatiently.
“Go ahead,” they all said at the same time again and could hardly resist another chuckle. Under Lian’s unamused look they wrangled themselves back to attention.
“Okay,” he continued crisply. “So you know they’re brothers. But there’s more! As you also know, there was a time when the monarchy was settled through a Trial in which anyone who wished, no matter their station, could literally compete for the crown in a series of critical challenges. From as far back as the ancients, the Trials were officiated by a Jury of great Sagii, masters who created tests in all the Eternal Virtues, be it courage, wisdom, strength, et cetera. To those who passed these preliminary tests, Eldisius forged from the One Crucible, the Rival Rings. Imagine unlimited Heat housed on your finger! A Rival Ring could do anything!”
“I heard they could Flash Trek anywhere, even outside of the Commons!” Root said excitedly.
“Flash Trek, conjure…any of the Heats.” Lian concurred and turned to Dwyn. “You think Brédins are amazing. They’re nothing compared to a Ring Rival!”
Lian continued. “So, these incredible Rings were forged by Eldisius, the only one who knew their Heat intimately and who could pull them gleaming and alive from the ancient One Crucible of Aureus!”
Lian had them. Each of his listeners was now far off in old Lanlynne, watching a golden ring arise from its fiery birth, throbbing with power. Their eyes were lit in its radiance.
“Many years ago, when the silent enemy Vor attacked from the north,” Lian continued, “he somehow found a way to the hidden mountain city of Aureus where the Forgers lived. He intended to force Eldisius to make him an ultimate ring of power that he might use to become a new invincible ruler. But he was refused and so Vor killed Eldisius right then and there, stabbed his sword through the heart of the Master Forger. Then Vor set his army upon the mountain city with orders to bring him every scrap and scribble of their knowledge.
“But…here’s where it gets interesting! He was foiled! The Forgers’ many, many books had been Stamped to literally combust if anything bad happened to the Master Forger and so all their writings, every single page, every word, was instantly destroyed and all knowledge of their incredible Heat along with them!”
“Except the Tome of Antiquilus, right,” Dwyn guessed.
Lian shook his head. “Uh uh…and you know why?” He drew in closer with a thrilled whisper. “’Cause the Tome wasn’t even written yet!” Though the eyes of his friends furrowed in confusion, he continued eagerly. “There was a back-up plan! A powerful Stamp that superseded all, ensuring that if the Aureus writings imploded, every single letter would be Inscribed into the mind of a surviving Forger.”
“Antiquilus!” Root cried.
Lian nodded. “When Vor attacked, Antiquilus was not in Aureus. When he heard what happened to his kin, he escaped into the forest where he hid in a secret cave. And here he set about painstakingly rewriting his ancestors’ ancient mystery Stamps. And that’s what became the Tome of Antiquilus. Potentially the greatest, most powerful canon in all of Lanlynne.”